Our Publications on Trees and Roots

These books can be ordered online using our publication order form.

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Tree Roots and Buildings was first published in 1981, when it immediately became, and remains, the reference book on tree root spreads in relation to subsidence on clay soils. It is quoted widely in reports, legal and advisory documents. A second edition, with additions, was released in 1989. This book was written jointly by Dr David Cutler, then Head of Plant Anatomy at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Ian Richardson, and presents the results of the Kew Tree Root Survey. Temporarily OUT OF PRINT.
The preface, by the Director of Kew, states: “An endeavour has been made not only to establish an accurate record of damage by tree roots, but also, by defining the incidence of root damage more precisely than before, to indicate the conditions under which trees might be planted near buildings with safety.” Two-page spreads present statistics on damage by the main tree types, with graphs illustrating the relative potencies of the root activities of these trees.

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Tree Recognition: A Pocket Manual was first published in 1994, with an expanded second edition in 2000. This book was written by Ian Richardson and Rowena Gale (artist, plant anatomist and archaeobotanist), with a view to assisting clients sending samples to this consultancy: Council Officers, Landscape Architects, Loss Adjusters, Structural Engineers and Surveyors among others.

This book uses no jargon, and no prior knowledge of trees is assumed. It includes an original way of identifying trees, and the two-page spreads clearly show the essential characteristic features of each main type, with accurate line drawings along with concise notes on aspects of growth, to assist assessment of trees on site. Fold-out cover-flaps give quick short-cuts, and notes for each main tree type include information on expected mature height, growth-rate and root activity. It is genuinely a weather-resistant pocket book, full of useful information covering some 250 species. 600 copies were recently requested by a large Building Society, for use by their surveyors.

Click on the picture to see sample pages from this book.

Dead or Alive? Is it really that simple? a short paper published in 1995, was written by Ian Richardson. It gives a detailed description and critique of the iodine test for starch, as applied to tree roots. Published in the Arboricultural Journal, but click for extracts from manuscript.


Cutler, DF & Richardson, IBK (1989), Tree Roots and Buildings, ed. 2, Longman. 16x24cm, xi + 71 pp. Hard cover. £20.00. [Temporarily OUT OF PRINT]
Richardson, IBK (1995), Dead or Alive? Is it really that simple? Arb. J., 19 (4): 395-400.
Richardson, IBK & Gale, RMO (2000), Tree Recognition: A Pocket Manual, ed. 2, Richardson’s Botanical Identifications.10x18cm, 141pp. 

                                                        Weather-resistant laminated cover. £12.00.